The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

July 6, 2013

N.Y. photojournalist, radio team honor former Kansas town

BAXTER SPRINGS, Kan. — The ZIP code 66778 is no good anymore.

The only place Treece, Kan., still exists is on Google Maps — for the time being, at least.

Type it in and you’ll have a bird’s-eye view of a three-block by five-block settlement dotted with trees and homes and a city hall on the Kansas-Oklahoma line.

Zoom out and you’ll see large patches of white — scars on the landscape that speak to the mining past of the town and the chat piles that used to surround it.

Drive there and you’ll see nothing. The streets are gone, even the 100-year-old elm tree that Mayor Bill Blunk’s wife, Judy, cherished in their front yard at 435 Kansas no longer stands.

In 2009, the Environmental Protection Agency began a buyout of the 91-year-old town, once a top supplier of lead and zinc ore during World War I and World War II. It was included in Tar Creek, the largest EPA Superfund site in the United States, an ironic result of the mining that spurred its early growth.

The federal government allocated $3.5 million to Treece and appointed a trust to manage the funds. The average appraisal of a home there was less than $20,000, which residents were to use to relocate.

By June 2011, the Blunks had moved their trailer 12 miles away, and by 2012, almost all of the remaining 105 residents had left, scattering to Galena, Baxter Springs, Columbus and other Four-State Area towns. Their homes were auctioned and hauled away. Heavy equipment operators tore out the streets and bulldozed down the trees, including the Blunks’ elm.

But what happened between the buyout and the abandonment wasn’t lost to time. Numerous times during those three years, a photojournalist and a team of radio documentarians came to Treece.

Dina Kantor and Chaela Herridge-Meyer, both residents of New York City, whose projects ran simultaneously but not in partnership, both said their purpose was to honor the former town of Treece and document the residents’ collective story. Both were funded through grants by the Kansas Humanities Council.

Their paths would cross eventually, and last Tuesday, the two presented their bodies of work together as a photo slide show accompanied by an audio narrative to a few dozen Treece residents who reunited at the Baxter Springs Heritage Museum.

Text Only
Local News
  • 072814_jd anderson.jpg VIDEO: Noel strongman advances on talent show

    The past week has been busier than normal for Noel resident J.D. Anderson. Members of the production crew for NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” told him they have shot more footage of him than of other contestants for the next episode. “They said I have the busiest schedule of anyone this week,” Anderson told the Globe in a phone interview Friday. “There’s so many fun things you can do with B-roll as a strongman.”

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • AndraBryanStefanoni.jpg Andra Bryan Stefanoni: ‘Annie’ production is a family thing

    There’s a twist to this week’s production of “Annie” at Memorial Auditorium. The show, a beloved classic tale of an orphan girl in search of a family, is full of real-life family members.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • 072514 Band Box.jpg Jo Ellis: Carthage icon continues to play in local restaurant

    Chicago Coin’s Band-Box, also known as “Strike Up the Band,” has been a Carthage icon since the mid- to late 1950s. Any customer who frequented Red’s Diner, or Ray’s Cafe, and now the Pancake Hut is familiar with the pulsating rhythms and movements of this mechanical device.

    July 27, 2014 2 Photos

  • SusanRedden.jpg Susan Redden: Gubernatorial hopefuls make area appearances

    Three potential candidates for Missouri governor in 2016 made stops in the Joplin area this past week.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Anti-landfill group seeks grand jury probe

    As more than 200 people filed into Riverton High School on Sunday to attend an anti-landfill group meeting, many stopped to sign a petition asking the Cherokee County District Court to summon a grand jury to investigate how land was acquired by the city of Galena for a proposed landfill.

    July 27, 2014

  • shoalcreekcleanup.jpg Wildcat Glades center puts on service day at Shoal Creek

    About 20 people on Saturday pulled trash out of Shoal Creek as they paddled in canoes and kayaks from Grand Falls to Zan’s Creekside Campground in Joplin.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hearts & Hammers plans annual home repair event

    Since 2003, volunteers with Hearts & Hammers of Southwest Missouri have made free improvements to more than 170 homes owned by the elderly, physically disabled, and single parent or low-income families.

    July 26, 2014

  • Money clouds farm fight

    For much of the summer, while the campaign surrounding “right to farm” has been focused on its impact on “small, family farmers,” the bulk of the money pouring into the fight has come from big agriculture interests.

    July 26, 2014

  • jameswelbornupdate.jpg Local teen completes half of solo river trip

    James Welborn, a recent Webb City High School graduate, has reached the halfway point of his solo canoe trip down the Mississippi River — just in time to celebrate his 19th birthday with family.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Neosho police warn residents of phone scam

    The Neosho Police Department has received complaints from residents saying someone impersonating a lieutenant from the Newton County Sheriff’s Office warrants division has been calling them.

    July 26, 2014

Must Read
Sports
Photos


Facebook
Poll

A new provision by the U.S. Department of Agriculture allows qualifying districts with high percentages of students on food assistance to allow all students to eat free breakfasts and lunches. Would you agree with this provision?

Yes
No
     View Results
Opinion
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter